In an exclusive interview with Charleston, South Carolina’s The Post and Courier, the ex-governor of South Carolina floated the possibility that he might challenge Donald Trump in the president’s upcoming reelection campaign. Mark Sanford, who was defeated in his own congressional reelection bid after Trump encouraged South Carolina voters to replace him, told the newspaper that he would take the next month to decide if he’s going to run for president or not. One key thing, if he does run: he will do so as a Republican.
The newspaper reveals that “Since leaving office in January, Sanford said he has been privately mulling whether to run for the nation’s highest office. He described the internal debate as a drumbeat that never went away.”
As The Post and Courier points out, “If he does get in the race, Sanford faces mammoth odds of getting any traction within the Republican Party.”
However, according to what Mark Sanford revealed, it doesn’t appear that he’s interested in winning. His goal is to force a conversation about the growing national debt, telling the paper, “I’m a Republican. I think the Republican Party has lost its way on debt, spending and financial matters.”
If Sanford does run, The Post and Courier points out that even though he faces really long odds nationally, his reception in South Carolina might be warmer:
If Sanford’s run does progress to the primary stage, he could find a friendly reception in South Carolina, which is third in line in the calendar behind Iowa and New Hampshire.
Gov. Henry McMaster told The Post and Courier in March he would support the state holding a primary if a legitimate challenger against Trump came forward.
Even though McMaster remains one of Trump’s staunchest allies, he said he’d welcome Republicans hosting a primary as a means of growing the state’s GOP majority and protecting South Carolina’s first-in-the-south voting status.
If, after the month is up, Sanford decides not to run, he may “pursue setting up a think tank aimed at addressing the deficit.”